Less than two weeks ago, New York approved the merger between customer service nightmare Time Warner Cable and not-quite-so-famously-bad Charter Communications. Almost immediately, Time Warner is raising its prices in New York. Updated: The numbers previously used in this post were incorrect and have been changed.
Back in December, Time Warner announced that prices would be going up in mid-January. Of course, back then, Time Warner said that “most” customers would see a rise in internet prices of two dollars for five of the six tiers. And now we’re at that place
basic and standard ultimate 100 and 200 internet prices are jumping to $49.99 a month and $59.99 a month from $47.99 and $57.99. According to Time Warner, “Changes in your bill are mainly driven by the increase we must pay to deliver your favorite channels.” Higher programming costs were also the reasoning given back in December.
Assuming Time Warner Cable is telling the truth, that means that the price of internet service is being raised to pay for channels that fewer people are actually ordering. You can see from this graph that cable subscriptions have been plunging for years now.
It’s probably coincidental that this was announced ten days after New York approved the merger between Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications. The timing of that and the price hikes does unfortunately highlight that price hikes are inevitable when there is little consumer choice.
Update: In an e-mail, Ziggy Chau, Public Relations Manager for Time Warner Cable, told us:
TWC’s new prices reflect our continued investment in the performance and reliability of our networks and equipment, along with the rapidly rising costs of programming, especially local broadcast channels and cable sports networks. Many of these changes will not affect customers who are currently receiving promotional pricing until their promotional period ends.
Update 6:38 PM: The tiers in the original reports were incorrect, as Time Warner has informed us that the tiers that actually increased in price were the ones originally priced at $47.99 and $57.99. The post has been changed to reflect that. We regret the error.
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